Knights edge Central in OT

WHEELING – There is no question that Wheeling Central’s boys’ basketball team will find itself in plenty of battles during the 2013-14 season, and any storms that the Maroon Knights may weather, could very well be attributed to the two-game stretch they played this past weekend.

Senior David Park scored six of his team-high 21 points on a pair of treys in overtime and classmate Thomas Stanley also hit a huge three in the extra session as Wheeling Central battled back from an early deficit to pull out a thrilling 67-60 victory over previously unbeaten Steubenville Central in the championship game of the Undo’s Upper Ohio Valley Tournament Saturday night at the Alma Grace McDonough Center on the campus of Wheeling Jesuit University.

The victory moves head coach Mel Stephens’ squad to 3-0 on the young campaign while Sean Tucker’s Crusaders drop to 5-1. It was a rematch of last year’s Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class AA championship game, also captured by the Knights.

Wheeling Central had earned its championship game berth with a hard-fought, come-from-behind victory over previously unbeaten Bishop Donahue on Friday night.

After sophomore Chase Harler’s three-pointer with 50 seconds remaining in regulation forced overtime, Park quickly hit the bonus-bomb to give Wheeling Central the lead for good just 15 seconds in.

Another Park three followed Ryan Fletcher’s hoop for a 57-53 reading, and after Michael Barber nailed a pair of charity tosses, Stanley’s long-range shot made it a 60-55 lead with 1:08 to go and the Knights were well on their way.

The Crusaders had led 12-7 after one and 26-18 at the break with Fletcher scoring eight of his team-high 21 in the half. Brenton Colabella scored five in the first quarter before running into foul trouble.

Harler, who finished with 16 on the night, keyed an 8-2 run to start the third that brought Wheeling Central to within two, and eventually a 35-35 deadlock after three frames.

Maroon Knights’ freshman John Burkhalter also played a big part, hitting four of five shots in the third quarter and both attempts in the fourth to finish with 12 points.

Steubenville Central led 49-45 with 2:31 to play, but threes by Park and Harler, wrapped around a Michael Manfresca basket, forced the extra session.

Stanley added 10 for the winners while Matthew Martello had nine for the Crusaders and Barber, Colabella and Manfresca each finished with eight points.

Wheeling Central grabbed a commanding 31-15 edge off the glass with both teams turning the ball over on nine occasions.

Park, Harler and Burkhalter were named to the All-Tournament team for Wheeling Central while Martello and Fletcher received the honor for Steubenville Central.

Bishop Donahue 71, Clay-Battelle 54

In the consolation game, junior big-man Chaise Truax scored 18 points while freshman Taylor Straughn added 16 and the Bishops used a huge 21-6 second quarter burst to take control.

Jesse Padlow chipped in 13 for the winners while Zach Chisler had a team-high 18 for the Cee-Bees and sophomore Jarrett Hockenberry added 16.

Truax, Straughn and Chisler were all named to the All-Tournament team.